"The results of this study were univocal."
The common stereotypes about liberals and conservatives are that liberals are bleeding hearts and conservatives are cold-hearted.
It makes sense, conservatives want limited government and to cut social programs that help the more vulnerable members of society. Whereas liberals don't mind paying a few more dollars in taxes to help the unfortunate.
A recent study out of Belgium scientifically supports the notion that people who scored lower on emotional ability tests tend to have right-wing and racist views.
Emotional intelligence is the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one's goal.
For the study, researchers gave 983 Beligian students three tests: the Situational Test of Emotional Understanding, the Situational Test of Emotion Management, and the Geneva Emotion Recognition Test.
An example of the Situation Test of Emotional Understanding goes as follows:
Charles is meeting a friend to see a movie. The friend is very late and they are not in time to make it to the movie. Charles is most likely to feel? [A] Depressed [B] Frustrated [C] Angry [D] Contemptuous [E] Distressed.
For the second part of the study, the participants cognitive and emotional abilities were measured.
The results of the study found that those who scored lower on the emotional ability tests also scored higher on measures of right-wing authoritarianism and social dominance orientation.
People who have a right-wing authoritarian disposition are are especially willing to subject themselves to authority figures (political leaders, police, religious leaders) and have hostility towards those who are outside of their in-groups.
This type of person is attracted to authoritarian leaders like Donald Trump.
Psychologist Erich Fromm, author of the seminal book on authoritarianism, "Escape From Freedom" explains the orientation:
The passive-authoritarian, or in other words, the masochistic and submissive character aims — at least subconsciously — to become a part of a larger unit, a pendant, a particle, at least a small one, of this "great" person, this "great" institution, or this "great" idea. The person, institution, or idea may actually be significant, powerful, or just incredibly inflated by the individual believing in them. What is necessary, is that — in a subjective manner — the individual is convinced that "his" leader, party, state, or idea is all-powerful and supreme, that he himself is strong and great, that he is a part of something "greater." The paradox of this passive form of the authoritarian character is: the individual belittles himself so that he can — as part of something greater — become great himself. The individual wants to receive commands, so that he does not have the necessity to make decisions and carry responsibility.
According to the study, those who scored lower on emotional intelligence also scored high in social dominance orientation. People with these qualities prefer inequality and are uncomfortable with egalitarianism.
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Participants who scored high on cognitive and emotional tests are also more likely to agree with statements such as, "the white race is superior to all other races."
"The results of this study were univocal. People who endorse authority and strong leaders and who do not mind inequality — the two basic dimensions underlying right-wing political ideology — show lower levels of emotional abilities," study author Alain Van Hiel, a professor at the University of Ghent told PsyPost.
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